Cubs, Red Sox hanging tough

Jul 31, 2001 5:26 AM

The “dog days” of August are upon us, so it’s time for division races to tighten up, and to separate the wheat from the chaff. Cubs look like they are in for the long haul and the addition of Fred McGriff doesn’t hurt their chances. Yankees no longer are struggling, though the condition of Roger Clemens’ groin problem is day to day at this time.

Yankee pitching hinges on Clemens being healthy.

Red Sox hanging around with pitchers of questionable health, Bret Saberhagen and David Cone are question marks every time they go to the mound. Have to give Red Sox credit for trying to overcome a long list of disabled.

Here are the matchups for Aug. 3-6.

Atlanta at Milwaukee: The Brewers have cooled off considerably the past month and are trying to get healthy versus Atlanta. That’s a tough order with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine at the top of their game. The rest of staff in limbo. One two punch of Maddux and Glavine win two.

Montreal at Houston: The Expos as spoilers play that role to the hilt in the stretch part of the schedule. Astros are erratic will have to put a winning streak of some kind together to catch the Cubs. Bobby Munoz and Jacinto Vasquez slow Astros down.

Florida at St. Louis: The Cards playing hard trying to get back into the Central Division race, Marlins seem to be running out of gas. Darryl Kile and Dustin Hermanson will have to pick up the pace.

New York Mets at Arizona: Even though the Mets appear out of contention, don’t want to play them off at this stage. Going with Randy Johnson here and against every one else in this series.

Pittsburgh at Colorado Rockies: Games this weekend in Pittsburgh will feature shoddy pitching and runs in bunches. No selection in this series. ”˜Overs’ are the choice here, but don’t quote me.

Cincinnati Reds at San Diego: Both teams playing fairly decent with Padres having an edge in pitching. Going with Woody Williams and Bobby. Jones for San Diego.

Chicago Cubs at L.A. Dodgers: Test for both teams to find out about their staying power. Dodgers are doing it with timely hitting from unsuspected sources. On the other side of the coin, Cubs pitching has been all that you can ask for. Good pitching overcomes good hitting. Great series forecasted here with Dodgers over Kerry Wood and Jason Bere. Stay with streaking Dodgers.

Philadelphia at San Francisco: Phils on make or break tour of the West visiting Colorado for a three game set and a trio in San Francisco. Lots of luck, Philly. Going with Shawn Estes and Russ Ortiz to put a halt to the Philly express.

Texas at Boston: The Rangers overmatched in this series. Inferior mound corps. Red Sox doing it with over-age destroyers in Saberhagen and Cone along with “Flutter Ball Hurler” Tim Wakefield. Sox pitching is no bargain, but is enough to overcome Ranger hurlers. Sox should sweep this series and stay close to the Yankees.

Baltimore at Toronto Blue Jays: The O’s have the upper hand in this series. O’s want to play ball. Blue Jays going through the motions. Totals are the play. Going with Jose Mercedes against anyone Blue Jays use.

Oakland A’s at Detroit Tigers: The A’s have been struggling of late. Better right the ship or dreams of a playoff spot will be gone. Barry Zito has been ineffective. Going against him and with Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.

Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians: Important series for Cleveland. A stroll in the park for Seattle which has first place in the A.L. West locked up. Feeling here is Indians will test Seattle with a barrage of base hits. Though Mariners have solid-pitching, ”˜overs’ are the name of the game here. Double play on the ”˜overs’ when Jamie Moyer and Paul Abbott take the hill. Triple play when Dave Burba goes.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Chicago White Sox: Sox should make up ground in this series against this inept crew. Sox take three of four, with Kip Wells, Mark Buerhle and Rocky Biddle on the mound. Angels have been troublesome to New York in the past. More of the same could be in store. In four game set, a split could prevail. New York with Andy Pettitte and Ted Lilly win two, going against Roger Clemens.

Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins: The Minnesota Twins want to play any team but Seattle. The Kansas City mood and game has been upbeat of late, and Minnesota’s sloppy play gives the Royals hope of winning two of three. Going with Chad Durbin and Paul Byrd for the victories.

There’s no Marino, so take St. Louis

Summer session of the NFL season gets underway with the usual cast of suspects. Unlike other years, NFL teams practice almost all of the off-season with a few exceptions. Teams are more synchronizes in these early games.

Biggest surprise of the schedule is that of the Miami Dolphins who opened a four point underdog to the St. Louis Rams and at last look the game moved seven points. Miami is now favored by three. Guess Dan Marino will QB the Dolphins.

Friday, Aug. 3:

Steelers 17,Falcons 10: Word out of the Falcons camp is Jamal Anderson is running like the Anderson of old and Michael Vick is improving with every outing. Could be pre-season hype. Steelers look like the more solid team and plus two makes it interesting.

Saturday, Aug. 4:

Bears 20, Bengals 19: Not too much to go on here with information on both these teams at a low. Give the nod to the Bears because of the home field advantage. Chicago has been known to throw these games away. Bears win, but Bengals get the money.

Raiders 13, Cowboys 3: Cowboys look like a team in limbo. Raiders play everyone available and those that aren’t are not crazy about laying 6½ points in preseason, will watch from afar.

Monday, Aug. 6

Rams 23, Dolphins 17: Ram offense though they are rookies or regulars will outscore this bunch of wannabees in a meaningless affair. Feeling here is Rams will try to make amends for last year in every way. Take Rams plus three. It’s a gift.